The Department of Transport (DOT) presented its Annual Performance Plan for 2013/14 and Medium Term Budget for 2013 to 2016. The DOT firstly outlined some of the selected indicators that contributed to Government Outcome 6, the development of an efficient, competitive and responsive infrastructure network. Emphasis was placed on the need to upgrade the kilometres of secondary roads that were currently classed as “very poor” to “poor” and the ongoing project to establish a single transport economic regulator, firstly by developing a draft position paper, then legislation. Further indicators included the development of the rail transport policy, the national airports development plan and the number of municipal and regulatory entities established per year. The strategic objectives included the improvement of public transport planning, its integration with spatial planning, emphasising asset management to ensure safe, reliable and affordable public transport, and renewal of the commuter rail fleet. The main spending focus, over the medium term, would be in maintaining road infrastructure, upgrading rail infrastructure and services, and constructing and operating public transportation infrastructure. The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) were among the primary recipients of transfers from the DOT vote.
Presentations were then given of the major projects under each of the seven programmes, with an indication also of the main budget expenditure. Throughout the presentations, it was noted that the DOT would be focusing on trying to establish more coherent and integrated systems, particularly in relation to public transport. Databank information would be used to plan, inform and advise, at an executive and operational level. Borders, instead of providing hindrance, could be used to promote trade, and the importance of DOT being guided also by international and regional standards, and attempting to achieve standardisation, were emphasised. It was stated that both commuter rail and the road-to-rail programme, particularly for transportation of coal, would receive priority. Service level agreements were to be signed. The feasibility study on the Moloto Corridor was still noted as an ongoing issue and the rail policy would be developed and an interim rail economic regulator established. On the road side, there would be a focus both on primary and secondary roads and coal haulage routes. DOT aimed to rehabilitate 2 156 kilometres of roads, and would be monitoring the spending and performance by SANRAL and the provincial roads departments. It would be offering assistance to municipalities also in developing infrastructure for non-motorised transport, helping children to get t school, and supporting Millennium Development Goals to reduce accidents and incidents. The DOT also aimed to offer driver training to school learners, and to review and upgrade the driving schools industry. In the civil aviation sector, there would be continuing focus on safety, and amendment of the legislation where necessary. The National Airports Development Plan should be finalised and ready for implementation in 2014. DOT would be developing the national airlift strategy and developing regulations for use of slots at airports. An independent aircraft accident investigation body would be set up. The Maritime sector was also focusing on safety and reduction of accidents and incidents, on the sea and inland waters. DOT aimed to finalise the draft Maritime Policy, develop a ship clearance system, develop policy around shipbuilding and maintenance and develop an integrated skills development programme, and coastal shipping plan. Public transport would be enhanced by implementing equity ownership and broad based black economic empowerment, particularly for taxis and small bus operators. Cooperatives and skills development were a major focus, and the taxi recapitalisation programme was being considered, with the aim of aligning taxis into the public transport subsidies and strategy. The new Public Transport Network Operations Grant (PTNOG), was introduced for operational funding of public transport infrastructure in municipalities. Other major projects included the finalisation and implementation of the Scholar Transport Policy, the Rural Transportation Programme and Scholar Transport Safety Standards and Operations guidelines.
A detailed presentation was given on the budget, with figures provided and explained in relation to increases through the adjustment budget, line item comparisons to previous years, and the transfers and subsidies that comprised the major portion of the DOT budget.
Members asked a wide range of questions, but many stressed that they had expected to hear more about the provincial figures and allocations, and felt that there was not enough emphasis on rural transport. They asked how the students to receive driver training would be selected, how the DOT would curb corruption, and the need for the DOT to work on finalising the Scholar Transport Policy. The DOT was asked also to clarify the taxi recapitalisation programme, and to explain what exactly it was doing to try to address the ongoing cross-border taxi operator problems, particularly between South Africa and Lesotho. One Member complained that most of the issues raised in the presentation were long-standing, and that the Committee had never received satisfactory answers to previous questions, and felt that there was little point in interrogating the same problems again. The Chairperson answered that the DOT would be required to give answers, but, in view of the shortage of time, it was decided that all replies to questions must be submitted in writing.
Department of Transport Annual Performance Plan and budget 2013 to 2016
Dr Marta du Toit, Acting Director General, Department of Transport, tabled the budget and a document setting out the strategic objectives and performance indicators of the Department of Transport (DOT or the Department).
Dr du Toit tabled selected performance indicators that contributed to Government Outcome 6, which related to development of an efficient, competitive and responsive infrastructure network. The indicators included past, current and projected kilometres of secondary road networks currently classed as “poor” and “very poor” condition, that were to be upgraded. An indication was given of the numbers of week-day users of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system, through Rea Vaya in Johannesburg and MyCiti in Cape Town, and the fact that a national household travel survey was being implemented. One of the major projects was the establishment of a single transport economic regulator, and here it was reported that the draft position paper was being developed. Further indicators included the development of the rail transport policy, the national airports development plan and the number of municipal and regulatory entities established per year. The strategic objectives included the improvement of public transport planning, its integration with spatial planning, emphasising asset management to ensure safe, reliable and affordable public transport, and renewal of the commuter rail fleet.
Dr du Toit explained that the spending focus would be on maintaining road infrastructure, upgrading rail infrastructure and services, and constructing and operating public transportation infrastructure. This was in line with Government Outcome 6 and the National Development Plan. The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) were among the main recipients of transfers from the DOT vote.
Mr Mawethu Vilana, Deputy Director General: Integrated Transport Planning, Department of Transport presented on Programme 2 and referred to the importance of multi-modal transport planning. By 2015 an enabling consolidated transport planning bank, a multi-modal Integrated Transport Planning Draft Bill and a National Transport Forum would be developed. The databank information would be used to plan, inform and advise, at an executive and operational level. He emphasised the importance of planning in transport, which encompassed the planning of space, time and distance (multi-modal). He said that because of the different levels (national, provinces and municipalities) there was a high risk of miscommunication, and thus intergovernmental convergence was vital.
He also noted that, in the past, borders had impeded movement and the aim of the DOT was that borders should facilitate trade. Across regions and borders there were still different standards and DOT would complete its study on the harmonisation of standards by the end of 2013. The analysis of accident hot spots was also being finalised and the DOT would help South Africa to develop technologies to achieve commitments under United Nations regulations for climate change, emissions and energy consumption.
The spending focus in this programme, over the medium term, included several major projects, outlined in the presentation. They included the single transport economic regulator, macro planning framework, a national freight corridor framework, the updating of the National Freight Database and completion and analysis of the National Household Travel Survey.
Mr Ngwako Makaepea, Acting Chief Director: Rail regulation, Department of Transport, presented on Programme 3. One of the main objectives included the upgrading and expansion of the priority commuter rail corridors by 2014. He highlighted Mamelodi Rail Extension and Bridge City in Kwazulu Natal. The Department wanted to increase accountability for commuter rail service delivery by signing a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with PRASA by December 2013 and having SLAs signed between capacitated municipalities and PRASA by December 2014. To enhance the efficiencies and reliability of the rail sector, a Green Paper would be published in 2013, logistical cost of freight movement would be reduced from 50.4% to 41% over the medium term, and passenger rail volumes would be increased by 2.5% annually. A safe railway environment would be ensured by developing rail policy and regulations to reduce the number of operational occurrences by 10%, by 2014/15. Major expenditure within this programme included the feasibility study on the Moloto Corridor, development of the Rail Policy and Act and the establishment of an Interim Rail Economic Regulator capacity.
Mr Chris Hlabisa, Deputy Director General: Roads, Department of Transport, presented on Programme 4. He This programme intended to maintain and preserve the existing road network, and reduce the numbers of kilometres of roads that were currently classed as “very poor”, raising this classification to “poor”. He explained that DOT would not only focus on primary roads, but would also concentrate on coal haulage roads. By 2014, DOT would rehabilitate 2 156 kilometres of the roads, and would be monitoring the spending and performance by the SANRAL and the provincial roads departments in the relevant provinces. It would be engaging with Transnet and Eskom to facilitate ongoing migration of coal from road to rail. It would provide grant funding on an ongoing basis and ensure the use of updated road asset management systems in all provinces by 2013/14, at local government level for the initial 22 district municipalities by 2014/15. It would also be assisting a further seven district municipalities in 2013/14. The Programme would improve rural access and mobility by assisting 21 district municipalities in developing non-motorised transport infrastructure and facilities, including helping children get to school, and developing plans and guidelines for design, and monitoring implementation. This programme would also support Millennium Development Goals to reduce accidents and incidents.
He said that the main spending focus for this programme, over the medium term, would be the transfer of money to SANRAL and provinces for capital investment and road maintenance, to provide a reliable road network to reduce poor conditions, and to monitor implantation of identified projects. The capital roads projects of SANRAL would be costing R714.7 million in 2014/15, rising to R736.2 million in 2015/16, because it would be including additional roads from Eastern Cape and North West. Further projects included provision of driving licence instructions to high schools, with the aim of training 2 250 students in driving skills by the end of 2013/14. The driving school industry would be reviewed, as would the training manual, with the intention of reducing road accidents and creating a new and safer generation of drivers. The aim would be for learners, when they matriculated, at least to be in possession also of a learner license at least, with the aim that they get their full licence whilst they were doing further studies. Finally, he noted that the framework for road networks would be developed and managed, and provinces would be assisted with their development and to develop and update road engineering norms and standards. A road asset management system and guidelines would be developed.
Mr Zakhele Thwala, Deputy Director General: Civil Aviation, Department of Transport, presented on Programme 5. He outlined the objectives and emphasised that key projects involved enhancing safety within the aviation sector, through the establishment of an independent accident and incident investigation body, and the amendment of the Civil Aviation Act of 2009, during 2013/14. He said that further focus would be placed on the need to improve civil aviation safety and security continually, by complying with existing and new standards, as well as recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Federal Aviation Administration. DOT would ensure effective and economic infrastructure by concluding the consultative process for the National Airports Development Plan, and obtaining approval for its implementation by 2014. This Programme would also aim to consult on and finalise the approval of the National Civil Aviation Policy by 2014/15, and to achieve effective air transport economic regulation through a review of the regulatory framework that promoted the development of the aviation industry, by 2013/14.
This programme’s spending focus rested on developing relevant legislation and monitoring and evaluating its implementation to ensure aviation safety and security, and monitoring the performance of aviation public entities. DOT would be developing, maintaining and exercising oversight over the implementation of the reviewed airlift strategy. Regulations would be drafted to govern the use and management of slots at airports. The National Airports Development Plan and the White Paper would be approved, implemented and monitored. An independent aircraft accident investigation body would be set up and operated.
Mr Metse Ralephenya, Director: Maritime, Department of Transport presented on Programme 6 and said that the Maritime programme would contribute to a safe, secure and environmentally friendly industry, with the Maritime Transport Policy to be finalised by 2014. DOT would enhance economic development by developing a shipping policy by the end of 2014, and improve safety by reducing the number of accidents and incidents (which, for the last year, were 19 and 68 respectively). It would be attending also to matters raised in the 2011/2012 South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) annual report regarding small vessels, and aimed to implement the inland water strategy by 2013/2014.
Major expenditure in this programme would be focused on finalising the consultation process on the draft Maritime Policy over the medium term, and obtaining approval from Cabinet. The programme would also be spending on projects to oversee the development of a ship clearance system, develop the policy framework for ship building and maintenance and develop an integrated skills development programme. It would also develop, maintain and monitor the implementation of a coastal shipping plan, supported by the development of a South African shipping register.
Ms Nonhlanhla Nyathikazi, Director: Business Systems, Department of Transport, presented on Programme 7. The objectives of this programme were to improve public transport access, by developing and implementing integrated public transport networks in 13 cities and monitoring and evaluating progress on an ongoing basis. It would ensure integrated and optimised public transport services, by facilitating the development of integrated rapid public transport networks and feeder distribution systems in five municipalities, by 2014/15. The programme would develop and increase the equity ownership and broad based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) in the public transport sector, through the implementation of an industry development model aimed at empowering taxi and small bus operators, through establishing cooperatives and through coordinating skills development, by 2014/15. This programme also would align and integrate the taxi recapitalisation programme with national and provincial rail services, metropolitan rapid public transport corridor services and provincial bus services. DOT would be reviewing the taxi recapitalisation project in 2013/14, to assess its alignment with the public transport strategy. It would also ensure an improved scholar transport system, developing scholar norms and standards in this financial year.
Major expenditure over the medium term would be on subsidising construction of public transport infrastructure. The Public Transport and Infrastructure and Systems Grant would be separated to show its infrastructure and operational funding components, in order to improve transparency and provide municipalities with more certainty regarding long term operational funding. A new grant, the Public Transport Network Operations Grant (PTNOG), was introduced for operational funding of public transport infrastructure in municipalities. The Rea Vaya in Johannesburg was expected to increase the average number of weekday bus rapid transit passengers from the current numbers of 36 000, up to 150 000 by 2015/16, and the MyCiti in Cape Town was expected to increase passengers from 22 000 to 112 000. The Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane, George and Rustenburg municipalities were expected to start operations over the medium term. Other major projects included finalising the Scholar Transport Policy, implementing the Rural Transportation Programme and developing the Scholar Transport Safety Standards and Operations guidelines. The programme would support the devolution of public transport contracting and regulating of this function to metropolitan cities. The amounts transferred to taxi owners depended on the number of taxis scrapped per year and, as a result, spending varied, although it was only so far in line with inflation over the medium term. The scrapping of taxis would continue until the Public Transport Strategy could be implemented to incorporate taxis within the subsidy fold for road based public transport subsidies.
The Medium Term Budget analysis was then presented by Deena Pillay, Director: Department of Transport. At the outset the following figures were presented, showing a comparison, in most cases, to the previous year. The first slide, however, set out the amendments and adjustments to the initial budget allocations, (see slide 24 for full details), when it was explained that the adjustments represented extra funding allocated to the baseline. These were:
- For PRASA: Rolling Stock would increase from R250 million to R3.1 billion in 2014/15 and R1.6 billion in 2015/16.
- SANRAL: Capital would increase, from R714.7 million in 2014/15 to R736.1 million in 2015/16.
- SANRAL: Operations showed an increase from R156.2 million in 2013/14 to R240.7 million in 2014/15, and to R295.4 million in 2015/16.
- Under Adjustments to baseline for PRASA: Rolling stock, the figures showed a R4 billion in 2014/15
- The PRASA: Capital - Station upgrade showed adjustments from R154 million in 2013/14, to R298.6 million in 2014/15 and R160.1 million in 2015/16.
- Adjustments to conditional grants included the Rural Road Asset Management Grant , which was R13 million in 2013/14, rising to R33.8 million in 2014/15 and to R54.4 million in 2015/16.
- The Provincial Road Maintenance Grant would increase from R155.7 million in 2013/14, to R173.3 million in 2014/15, to 409.2 million in 2015/16
A summary of budgets over the medium term was given in Slide 25. This showed a 13.9% increase in compensation of employees to the 2013/14 figure. The transfers and subsidies were also highlighted, rising by 8.9% in 2013/14, to a further 14.3% in 2014/15, and again by 10.8% in 2015/16. The year on year growth in the Compensation of Employees budgets over the medium term was given in slide 26, showing year-on-year growth of 12.8% for 2013/14. It was noted that the additional allocations were negotiated to strengthen oversight over public entities, conditional grant monitoring and risk management
The Goods and Services budgets over the medium term were summarised in slide 28. The year on year growth showed negative figures, excluding additional allocations for Search and Rescue, of -0.2% in 2013/14 and -1.9% in 2014/15 and -2.9% in 2015/16. It was explained that the budgets for Search and Rescue Services were shifted from Maritime Transport to Civil Aviation because the search and rescue functions were coordinated by the Civil Aviation programmes.
It was noted that the detailed budgets for Ministry, Management and Communications were augmented in line with reprioritised budgets in 2012/13.
The Transfer payments budgets over the medium term were set out in slide 29. The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) showed year-on-year growth of 18.2% in 2013/14, and 10.7% in 2014/15. Other figures were also highlighted (see attached slides for full details). Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) showed year-on-year growth of 400.0% in 2013/14, but would drop to -38.8% in 2014/15. The additional allocations were intended to allow it to become fully operational. Figures were also set out for the Rural Road Asset Management Grant, the SANRAL capital and growth, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), where it was noted that funds had been shifted for “Civil Aviation Day”, the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), and SADC Safety and Security funding. The Public Transport Network Operations Grant was introduced in this year. The funding from the Public Transport Infrastructure Grant was reduced to introduce the new Public Transport Network Operations Grant. The two grants combined would show year-on year growth 11.3% in 2013/14.
Slides 32 to 35 contained graphs to illustrate the results.
Ms L Mabija (ANC; Limpopo) referred to slide 22 and asked how the implementation of the Rapid Public Transport Network in cities would affect rural taxpayers.
Ms M Themba (ANC; Mpumalanga) asked that the DOT be more specific and elaborate more so that the committee can support the budget. She stated that during the presentation of Programme 5, there had been a passing mention of a new Mpumalanga airport, of which the Committee has no knowledge.
Ms Themba referred to slide 14 and asked how the 2 250 high school students to receive driving skills training would be chosen.
Ms Themba noted that slide 22, referring to the finalisation of the Scholar Transport Policy, but she stated that this was a long outstanding matter, which was first referred to this Committee in 2009. She asked that the Department explain the policy that guided the development of norms and standards to improve the scholar transport system on slide 20.
Mr M Jacobs (ANC; Free State) stated that planning formed the major part of the presentation, but he would have liked to see more focus on implementation. He asked:
- Who was responsible for urban and rural road infrastructure?
- How was money allocated to the provinces and municipalities for road infrastructure, and was this spending being monitored?
- How would DOT regulate the driving schools and monitor corruption?
- Whether any people were being trained to fill the Aviation and Maritime specialised personnel needs? If so, he asked about the budget and whether there was a focus on training underprivileged youth?
- He also stated that it had been decided previously to increase the number of traffic officers, and their visibility, particularly at night. However, there was no budget presented for this initiative.
- He also questioned the lack of a budget for the DOT’s Road to Rail process
- Noting that taxi owners were paying high rates, he wanted to know how the DOT was helping taxi owners and if the department was working with South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO).
Mr H Groenewald (DA; North West) asked how large the commuter rail sector was, where all the coaches were, and where the maintenance was taking place. He asked if the DOT was incorporating job creation with the National Development Plan, in respect of both fleet and rail. He asked how much of the fleet was imported and from where, asking specifically if it was being sourced from China. He referred to rumours of extension of the Gautrain, and asked about the progress and the budget.
Mr Groenewald stated that cross-border taxi association infighting was still hampering commuter transport, particularly between South Africa and Lesotho, and that it therefore had a negative impact on the economy. He asked if the DOT would intervene.
The Chairperson asked Mr Groenewald to keep in mind that Lesotho was a sovereign state that also needed to develop.
Mr Groenewald referred to slide 20 which set out the objective to improve public transport access in 13 cities. He asked the DOT to clarify what cities, and wondered if the focus should not rather be on the rural areas.
He believed also that job creation for the youth should be a primary consideration in the planning stages. He asked that DOT specify where the rural corridors were, and how many consultants are being used for these corridors, urging the DOT to use its own staff.
Mr Groenewald asked whether it would be the DOT, or the Department of Basic Education who would drive the policy to provide driver training to high school students. He also wanted to know how the DOT would be monitoring that corruption did not happen.
Mr Groenewald needed more details on when the taxi recapitalisation programme would stop, noting that this process seemed ongoing.
Mr Groenewald wanted a full explanation on slide 31, with regard to the 2013/14 year-on-year growth percentage of 11.3% of the public transport grants.
Mr Z Mlenzana (COPE; Eastern Cape) stated that this Committee represented the provinces but he was disappointed that this presentation did not seem to highlight specific provinces in the objectives or budgets. He referred to slide 11, and asked that the municipal and provincial levels be reclassified. He also asked about programmes for access roads.
Mr Mlenzana asked, in regard to slide 22, that DOT explain its last statement regarding the taxi recapitalisation programme, and why inflation was not taken into account for the static subsidy of R50 000. He asked why there was such a big gap between the taxi recapitalisation and the bus subsidy, and why the Department appeared to be waiting until all taxis were scrapped before introduction to the Public Transport Strategy.
The Chairperson thanked DOT for the presentation, and noted, in respect of the new airport, that Moloto was part of Mpumalanga. He expressed his concern that most of the programmes appeared to have too strong a focus on the developed provinces of Western Cape and Gauteng, and felt that there should be a greater focus on underdeveloped provinces.
The Chairperson asked that the Department indicate and explain its approach for Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), and how the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) had been used to capacitate black building contractors.
The Chairperson noted that no time frames were explicit, for the major projects. For instance, he cited Programme 4, Transnet and Eskom facilitation, and wanted to know the details of the process – for the pilot, roll-out, where and what areas would be affected, especially the rural areas. He also wanted to know if there was a Skills Development plan for the rural areas.
Ms Themba said that there was apparently a Moloto Corridor feasibility study. She asked that the DOT list the 13 cities that would receive grants.
Ms Mabija said that all these issues had been raised before, yet the Committee had never received fully satisfactory answers. She complained that the same things were repeated, time after time. She saw no point in the DOT giving a response, which would also be the same.
The Chairperson responded to Ms Mabija’s concerns, saying that DOT would respond, although there was a time constraint in this meeting.
He gave DOT opportunity to respond.
Ms N Nyathikazi started her response. She noted that the Rural Accessibility Transportation programme was driven by the Rural Transport Strategy. Institutional capacity in rural areas hindered progress. She also noted that the taxi recapitalisation programme was currently under review, and the DOT was currently not providing any funding to SANTACO. She agreed that the gap between the taxi recapitalisation and the bus subsidy of R3.4 billion was vast, but the Public Transport Strategy aimed to eventually integrate taxi, bus and rail.
The Chairperson interrupted at this point to suggest that, instead of attempting to answer everything in a short time, the DOT should rather submit written responses to the questions that had been asked.
Mr M Jacobs (ANC; Free State) agreed and said that the responses to some of the issues would not easily be formulated.
Dr du Toit stated that she understood that Moloto was a contentious matter, and although the DOT received Cabinet approval, it had not actually received a budget for the study from National Treasury.
The Chairperson said the Moloto issues should have been communicated to the Committee. On this point also, he asked for a written response.
The meeting was adjourned.
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